an act or instance of patching or repair.


done by patching or fixing: a quick patch-up job.

Origin of patch-up

First recorded in 1900–05; noun, adj. use of verb phrase patch up




a small piece of material used to mend a tear or break, to cover a hole, or to strengthen a weak place: patches at the elbows of a sports jacket.
a piece of material used to cover or protect a wound, an injured part, etc.: a patch over the eye.
Also called skin patch, trans·der·mal patch. an adhesive patch that applies to the skin and gradually delivers drugs or medication to the user: using a nicotine patch to try to quit smoking.
any of the pieces of cloth sewed together to form patchwork.
a small piece, scrap, or area of anything: a patch of ice on the road.
a piece or tract of land; plot.
a small field, plot, or garden, especially one in which a specific type of plant grows or is cultivated: a cabbage patch; a bean patch.
Military. a cloth emblem worn on the upper uniform sleeve to identify the military unit of the wearer.
a small organizational or affiliational emblem of cloth sewn to one's jacket, shirt, cap, etc.
a connection or hookup, as between radio circuits or telephone lines: The patch allowed shut-ins to hear the game by telephone.
a period of time characterized by some quality: he was going through a rough patch.
Computers. a small piece of code designed to be inserted into an executable program in order to fix errors in, or update the program or its supporting data.

verb (used with object)

to mend, cover, or strengthen with or as if with a patch or patches.
to repair or restore, especially in a hasty or makeshift way (usually followed by up).
to make by joining patches or pieces together: to patch a quilt.
to settle or smooth over (a quarrel, difference, etc.) (often followed by up): They patched up their quarrel before the company arrived.
(especially in radio and telephone communications) to connect or hook up (circuits, programs, conversations, etc.) (often followed by through, into, etc.): The radio show was patched through to the ship. Patch me through to the mainland.

verb (used without object)

to make a connection between radio circuits, telephone lines, etc. (often followed by in or into): We patched into the ship-to-shore conversation.

Origin of patch

1350–1400; Middle English pacche; perhaps akin to Old Provençal pedas piece to cover a hole < Vulgar Latin *pedaceum literally, something measured; compare Medieval Latin pedāre to measure in feet; see -ped
Related formspatch·a·ble, adjectivepatch·er, nounpatch·less, adjectiveun·patched, adjectivewell-patched, adjective

Synonyms for patch

14. fix. See mend.

Antonyms for patch

14. break. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for patch-up

Historical Examples of patch-up

  • "That settles it beyond any hope of a patch-up," he said sorrowfully.

    The Price

    Francis Lynde

  • Now all law, all social order, all custom, is a patch-up and a concession to this separating passion of self-insistence.

    The Passionate Friends

    Herbert George Wells

British Dictionary definitions for patch-up



  1. a piece of material used to mend a garment or to make patchwork, a sewn-on pocket, etc
  2. (as modifier)a patch pocket
a small piece, area, expanse, etc
  1. a small plot of land
  2. its producea patch of cabbages
a district for which particular officials, such as social workers or policemen, have responsibilityhe's a problem that's on your patch, John
pathol any discoloured area on the skin, mucous membranes, etc, usually being one sign of a specific disorder
  1. a protective covering for an injured eye
  2. any protective dressing
an imitation beauty spot, esp one made of black or coloured silk, worn by both sexes, esp in the 18th century
Also called: flash US an identifying piece of fabric worn on the shoulder of a uniform, on a vehicle, etc
a small contrasting section or stretcha patch of cloud in the blue sky
a scrap; remnant
computing a small set of instructions to correct or improve a computer program
Australian informal the insignia of a motorcycle club or gang
a bad patch a difficult or troubled time
not a patch on informal not nearly as good as

verb (tr)

to mend or supply (a garment, etc) with a patch or patches
to put together or produce with patches
(of material) to serve as a patch to
(often foll by up) to mend hurriedly or in a makeshift way
(often foll by up) to make (up) or settle (a quarrel)
to connect (electric circuits) together temporarily by means of a patch board
(usually foll by through) to connect (a telephone call) by means of a patch board
computing to correct or improve (a program) by adding a small set of instructions
Derived Formspatchable, adjectivepatcher, noun

Word Origin for patch

C16 pacche, perhaps from French pieche piece
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for patch-up



"piece of cloth used to mend another material," late 14c., of obscure origin, perhaps a variant of pece, pieche, from Old North French pieche (see piece (n.)), or from an unrecorded Old English word (but Old English had claðflyhte "a patch"). Phrase not a patch on "nowhere near as good as" is from 1860.



"fool, clown," 1540s, perhaps from Italian pazzo "fool," of unknown origin. Possibly from Old High German barzjan "to rave" [Klein]. But Buck says pazzo is originally euphemistic, and from Latin patiens "suffering," in medical use, "the patient." Form perhaps influenced by folk etymology derivation from patch (n.1), on notion of a fool's patched garb.



mid-15c., from patch (n.1). Electronics sense of "to connect temporarily" is attested from 1923. Related: Patched; patching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

patch-up in Medicine




A small circumscribed area differing from the surrounding surface.
A dressing or covering applied to protect a wound or sore.
A transdermal patch.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

patch-up in Science



A temporary, removable electronic connection, as one between two components in a communications system.
A piece of code added to software in order to fix a bug, especially as a temporary correction between two versions of the same software.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.